Florida man pleads guilty to unemployment benefit fraud | USAO-NV
LAS VEGAS, Nevada – A man in Tallahassee, Florida today pleaded guilty to conspiring to use the identities of 17 victims (without their consent) to illegally submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims, totaling at least $ 385,000 .
According to court documents and confessions made in court, Joseph Holmes Jr., 22, conspired with others to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims to the California Employment Development Department (EDD). During a traffic stop on September 18, 2020, agents from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department discovered in the car and on Holmes and his co-accused Emelio Rochester: 17 EDD debit cards, all with different names; $ 89,710 in cash; five cell phones; three laptops; and a tablet. At least $ 385,000 in unemployment benefits have been approved for unemployment claims associated with EDD debit cards, and at least $ 192,234 has been withdrawn using the cards.
Holmes pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess counterfeit and unauthorized access devices and one count of aggravated identity theft. US District Judge Andrew P. Gordon has sentencing December 9, 2021. Holmes faces a total legal maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000.
Acting United States Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Quentin Heiden of the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Labor (DOL-OIG), Los Angeles area, made the announcement.
This matter was investigated by the DOL-OIG. US Assistant Prosecutor Jim Fang is pursuing the case.
In May, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force to mobilize resources from the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent fraud related to the pandemic. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF online complaint form at: https: //www.justice. gov / disaster-fraud / ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.